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Jadwiga of Poland
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    (circa 1373-July 17, 1399)
    Born in Buda, Hungary
    Ruled Poland (1384-99)
    Known as Hedwig in English
    Canonized by the Roman Catholic Church as patron saint of queens and United Europe (1997)
    It required two years of negotiation before she could take the throne.
    Since the country had no provision for a queen regnant, she was crowned King of Poland.
    At twelve, she married the 26-year-old Grand Duke of Lithuania.
    Although nominally in charge, political power was mostly in the hands of a regent or, after her marriage, her husband.
    Maybe I am being cynical, but anyone else find it more than coincidental that she was canonized by a Polish pope?
    She spoke five languages.
    She was known for her kindness and piety.
    She financed numerous charities, including hospitals and universities.
    She died young from complications following childbirth.
    She was buried with a wooden orb and sceptre, having sold her jewels to fund the resoration of the Krakow Academy.

Credit: C. Fishel

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